Russia faces political and legal consequences over organizing a vote in the annexed Crimea and Sevastopol on amendments to the Russian constitution, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasyl Bodnar said in an interview with the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
"The organization of voting in the occupied territory of the Ukrainian Crimea, as well as the organization of voting of persons who illegally received Russian passports, will have political and legal consequences for Russia. The international community has sufficient tools to respond accordingly, from political statements condemning Russia's actions, not recognizing the results of the voting in the occupied territories to the expansion of sanctions and political pressure. Extending Putin's tenure in power is a continuation of Russia's aggressive policy, and our society and the world should understand that," he said.
According to Bodnar, Ukraine has enough allies, including among the EU countries, who can strengthen sanctions against Russia.
In February 2014, armed people in uniforms without insignias appeared in Crimea and captured the Supreme Council of Crimea, the Simferopol Airport, the Kerch ferry crossing and other strategic objects, and prevented the Ukrainian army from taking action. Initially, the Russian government refused to acknowledge that these armed people were Russian soldiers, but President Vladimir Putin later admitted it.
On 16 March 2014, a referendum on the status of Crimea was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, in which the inhabitants supposedly voted for the peninsula to become part of Russia. The outcome of the so-called referendum is not recognized by Ukraine, the EU or the US. On 18 March, Putin announced the “annexation” of Crimea to Russia.
International organizations have declared the annexation illegal and condemned Russia’s actions. Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia in connection with the annexation. Russia claims to have “restored historical justice”. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, declared 20 February 2014 the start of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.